Amari Cooper will begin serious preparations for Ohio State soon enough. This week, No. 9 gets a chance to feel the college football world’s appreciation of his outstanding 2014 season.

The 6-foot-1 receiver returned to his home state of Florida as one of the brightest stars in a room full of college football’s best players on Thursday, including Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Soon all three of them will head to New York, where Cooper will learn Saturday whether he won the Heisman Trophy.

But his awards cabinet won’t be empty even if Mariota wins as expected.

Cooper won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver Thursday evening, beating out Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins and West Virginia’s Kevin White.

With one game to go, Cooper’s 115 receptions have produced 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns. His wild season correlated with the arrival of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the decision to open up the playbook with first-year starting quarterback Blake Sims.

In addition to breaking almost every single-game and single-season receiving record at Alabama, and many career records, Cooper’s 25 catches in the last two games pushed him past Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews (113 catches last season) for the SEC’s single-season receptions record.

He’s recorded five games with at least 10 catches and three with at least 200 receiving yards, including a 13-catch, 224-yard, three-touchdown effort against Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

Two plays stand out from his season:

  1. Early in the first quarter, on Alabama’s first offensive snap, Cooper caught a dump pass behind his own 20-yard line, got some good downfield blocking and outraced the Vols down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.
  2. Down a couple of scores to Auburn in the third quarter, the Crimson Tide got Cooper isolated with a defensive back. A double move led to a wide-open No. 9 on a 37-yard touchdown. It was a beautiful pass, but it became iconic because Kiffin started to celebrate before Sims even threw the ball.

Alabama was well-represented at the Home Depot College Football Awards at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with safety Landon Collins (Jim Thorpe Award finalist) and punter JK Scott (Ray Guy Award winner) also in attendance.

Higgins, under then-CSU coach Jim McElwain, led the NCAA in receiving yards per game with 149.1, helping the Rams to a 10-2 regular season in the Mountain West. Higgins also leads the nation with 17 receiving touchdowns. He finished behind Cooper in the voting along with the top receiver in the Big 12.

White started the season white hot for the Mountaineers, including 143 yards in the opener against the Crimson Tide. He put up 1,020 yards in his first seven games — nearly on pace with Higgins — but corralled just 298 receiving yards in the last five games.

Kiffin indicated this week that he expects Cooper to enter the NFL draft, meaning Alabama fans may have just one opportunity to see their beloved receiver in Crimson: Jan. 1 in the national semifinals against Ohio State.

Win that game and Cooper could rocket into the Top 10 all-time in several major single-season records.